Oops, Facebook Advertiser Gets A Mysterious Bill For $8.8 Million

Social ads on Facebook are supposed to be cheap. In fact, they are one of the cheapest ads on the Web in terms of cost per thousand impressions. So imagine Facebook advertiser Joshua Niamehr’s surprise when he logged into his Facebook ad campaign and saw the following notice:

There is an outstanding balance of $8,804,978.14 USD on your account. Your ads will not be displayed until your account is settled. Please enter a valid funding source. When you submit that information, we will charge your funding source for $8,804,978.14 USD.

Needless to say, he did not click “Make Payment.” Niamehr’s credit card had expired, which is why his account was delinquent. But his actual outstanding balance was $58.07, not $8,804,978.14. (He was placing ads to market his site LaundryLocal).

Facebook did eventually correct itself and showed the correct amount, to Niamehr’s relief. So was that $8,804,978.14 just a glitch. Niamehr thinks the number was too specific for it to be random. His theory: “I think this may be the outstanding balance across all or many of their accounts.” That’s just a theory. But if that’s true, it’s not an inconsequential amount. Maybe Facebook should get into social debt collection. It could offer Facebook Credits to friends of delinquent advertisers who shame them into paying their bills.